Post-pandemic mental health: Risk and resilience in young people (covidmentYOUNG)

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states that the wellbeing of young people should have been better taken care of during the pandemic. Attempts to support mental health and wellbeing for young people post pandemic may therefore have immense public health benefits.

The Nordic countries have unique resources to contribute to the worldwide knowledgebase on negative consequences of Covid-19. In covidmentYOUNG we will leverage these resources to build solid knowledge to optimize future societal responses and promote resilience in the young population.

Social isolation, family financial difficulties, missed milestones and school disruptions due to Covid- 19 likely influenced the mental health and wellbeing of numerous young people around the world, with possible cumulative and long-lasting effects. We will investigate such consequences up to 5-year after the outbreak, across sex, various living conditions, and countries with different mitigating strategies.

Based on the concern raised by young user voices and previous research we will focus on eating problems and disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, selfharm, depression, anxiety and wellbeing. Disasters disproportionately affect vulnerable populations, and young people with pre-existing medical, mental, or neurodevelopmental conditions are suggested to be hit hard by the restrictions.

Our research will focus on mental health consequences in various groups of affiliated young people and their families. Friendship and other social relationships are major sources of happiness, support, and meaning for most young people. We will investigate different patterns of creating and maintaining social relations throughout the pandemic and post-pandemic times, and how these are associated with later mental health and wellbeing.

CovidmentYOUNG will promote and expand an already established Nordic collaboration and research infrastructure (COVIDMENT), including data from national health registries, biobanks, Covid-19 cohorts, and birth-cohorts.

We also recognize the importance of user involvement. Together with already established (and planned) youth panels and other stakeholders we will build a cutting-edge research consortium with high potential for impact on the future welfare of young people in the Nordic countries.